Friday, November 30, 2018

Witcher Documentary

The Witcher games are pretty cool, somewhat despite the triteness of the main character, but did you know there is an in-depth documentary about them?

Check out this multi-part series from Noclip that goes in-depth with The Witcher games and the team that made them:

The Story of CD Projekt

Remembering The Witcher 1 & 2

Designing the World of The Witcher 3

Designing the Quests of Wild Hunt

Translating & Adapting the Witcher

Devil's in the Deails

Monday, November 26, 2018

Suspiria (2018)

Jack and Kate go off-mission for this very special episode in which they work through their feelings about the Luca Guadagnino-helmed Suspiria remake. Risk the boop of death and join your hosts on this emotionally-fraught journey.
Be warned that SPOILERS ABOUND!
Did the world require a nearly-three-hour-long, beige remake of Dario Argento's hyper-saturated psychedelic fairy tale? How many Tildas is too many Tildas? What are the best circumstances under which to engage with an especially divisive movie? How is the trend of "elevated horror" a lot like Garfield without Garfield? Find out the answers to these questions and so very many more in this mini episode of Bad Books for Bad People.
BBfBP theme song by True Creature 
Find us at, on Twitter @badbooksbadppl, Instagram @badbooksbadpeople and on Facebook. You can discover where to get all the books featured on Bad Books for Bad People on our About Page.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Umberwell Reviews

Not gonna lie: I feel like my recent releases on the Dolorous Exhumation Press imprint are doing pretty well. Some kind soul recently gave Umberwell five stars on DriveThruRPG, it was kicking around the top of the Hottest Small Press list, and reviews of have stated to come in. Thus far people I respect have had nice things to say about it:

And although this isn't a review, it was very cool to see Anne Hunter at DIY & Dragons take the book's Neighborhood Generator for a spin: Two Neighborhoods in Umberwell.

Lastly, although this isn't a review, check out this thread on Giants in the Playground inspired by my Cinderheim book. I lovelovelove that the author started off thinking something like This is a weird book; it seems too shot for a setting book but ended up here instead: "after a while it really warmed on me because I couldn't really point out any pieces of information that felt missing." Even better: the format and focus seems to have inspired them to get some work done on their own DIY setting content. Perfect.

So, yeah, it's been a good year for me putting my stuff out there again. If you review one of my books, let me know! (And maybe consider posting the review on the product page at DriveThru as well.) And if you use any of my stuff in your game, or if it inspires you to do something new with your games, let me know about that too! 

Trust me, I don't do this for the money. The real payoff is hearing about the fun times.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Crabs: The Human Sacrifice

Episode 27: Crabs: The Human Sacrifice
Jack and Kate dive right into the deep end of the Guy N. Smith Crabsiverse with book six in the cult (?) horror (?) series, Crabs: The Human Sacrifice, a book that combines killer crustaceans, ecoterrorism, and BDSM into a particularly grotesque gumbo. When Charles Manson-esque cult leader Pete Merrick decides to sacrifice people in order to save giant crabs from the cancer that threatens to destroy them, he picks the wrong girl and soon a government-trained killer is hot on his trail. THRILL at scenes crabs of indeterminate size ruining infrastructure, GASP as young lovers worry about getting sunburn, and CHOKE BACK NAUSEA at the truly ghastly depictions of pus and vomit.
Who on earth would own a bejeweled alarm clock? Why is everybody in this book so stinky? Will this be the book that finally breaks the bonds of friendship between your hosts? Find out the answers to these questions and more on this episode of Bad Books for Bad People.
BBfBP theme song by True Creature 
Find us at, on Twitter @badbooksbadppl, Instagram @badbooksbadpeople and on Facebook. You can discover where to get all the books featured on Bad Books for Bad People on our About Page.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Horrors and Delights of B/X Mars

All art in this post by Michael Gibbons
Confession: I've read Edgar Rice Burroughs's A Princess of Mars and I thought it was pretty bad. The plot feels like an overheated and breathless litany of "And then this happens, and then this happens!," the main character seems like the epitome of naked (heh) wish-fulfillment, and the ending was a textbook example of an author simply running out of steam. I've never bothered to venture past the first book in the series; I doubt I'll ever be tempted to return to it.

And yet, when Michael Gibbons put out the call for players in his B/X Mars game, I volunteered with alacrity.

I have not regretted this decision.

B/X Mars is not Burroughs's Mars. There are obvious similarities, of course. B/X Mars draws a lot of inspiration from the planetary romance and larger science fantasy genres; Gib's Mars is a land of ancient technologies and lost civilizations fallen into ruin. The planet's deserts are hot and unrelenting, the people strange and savage, and barely clad warriors armed with swords face off against each other amid the red sands. 

The Mars flavor is in there, there's no denying it, but I want to focus on three things that have made this particular game more than an exercise in pastiche: the structure, the mystery, and the emergent themes.

The Structure
When we started playing this campaign, we were told that our party was wandering the desert, searching for civilization. We had a rough map and free rein to go wherever we wanted. So, a basic sandbox, right? 

To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of hexcrawl-style sandbox campaigns; I've played in enough of them that felt like railroads constrained by the "paths" you were highly encouraged to follow. 
This B/X Mars game short-circuits the potential for boredom by offering up other ways to travel around the wastes besides hoofing it--we've uncovered trains, lifts, and transmat devices. Half the time we have no idea where we are and it's glorious.

The Mystery
A good portion of the fun in this campaign has been the thrill of discovery. We are not just figuring out the rules (hacked substantially from B/X D&D), we're also figuring out the world as we play. For example, early on we found a mysterious metal triangle. Then we found more of these triangular devices. Then we found depressions in other objects in which the triangles would fit. To say we wasted a tremendous amount of time messing about with the triangles would be an understatement. The game isn't just a sandbox, it's a toy box and we have a lot of stuff to play with. Can't wait to find out what I can do with the stingstick I got in the last adventure!

Emergent Themes
It turns out that the planetary romance elements in B/X Mars are only part of the story. As we've been playing we've come to the collective realization that B/X Mars is also a horror game. We've already had one total party kill--only to be resurrected by the Martian version of Victor Frankenstein so he could experiment upon us. Don't worry, we eventually took him out in a Tarantino-meets-Saw ploy where we garroted him while stabbing him into corpsedom. 

We never feel like invincible John Carters or Deja Thorises. Our Martian princess plummeted to her death after a marsquake knocked her from a rope bridge into a deadly ravine. Our Thark! was destroyed by a flame-headed mummy.

And that's just the half of it. We've been assaulted by, and run from, a deathsquad of shambling reanimates. We fought off armies of warlike antmen. We encountered a horrible freak who had the mewling faces of infants sewn to his body.

And don't even get me started on Mr. Whip, the NPC I hate and fear above all others.

So, here's the thing, Michael is currently working his B/X Mars material into a lavishly illustrated product that you can buy and use for your own games. Choose wisely and keep an eye here for more news.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018


aka "The Comics Post"

I often hear comic fans lamenting that "there are no good comics anymore." I can see their point, somewhat. Frankly, I find a lot of what seems popular in the world of comics to be uninteresting and shoddily done.

On the other hand: man...I can't even keep up with all the stuff I want to read, and I'm not even a single-issue kind of guy. I mean, look at that image over to the left. That's the good shit. Thanks to the internet there is a preponderance of the good shit just about everywhere you turn.

It is likely that you do not share my taste in comics. That's fine. But if you're open-minded and can't find good comics to read along the narrow band of popular interest let me make some recommendations:

And that's just the stuff that's still ongoing. There's a couple things I want to mention that finished their runs in recent memory: